Fort Dorchester defeated Ashley Ridge, 41-24, on Wednesday in the state semifinals to advance to the Class AAAA championship match.
The Patriots will wrestle defending state champion Rock Hill in the finals at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Columbia.
Fort Dorchester coach Deral Brown said he couldn’t imagine his team having a better start than it did in the Lower State title match. Wrestling began in the 145-pound weight class and the Patriots won the first five matches to jump out to a 20-0 lead. That included a win by technical fall for A.J. Alford at 160 and a win by pinfall for Jacob Hutchinson at 170.
“I felt good after we won those first two matches,” Brown said. “Those were big swing matches. After we got past those and the people we thought would get pins did, we felt pretty good. We knew we couldn’t take a break. We have some kids who are raw so we knew when we got to our lightweights we would give up some points.”
After building the lead to 26-6 with John Simpson’s 5-1 decision in the heavyweight class, the Patriots did give up some points. Ashley Ridge’s Dashaun Hall earned a second-period pin at 106 and Ty Jamieson earned a first-period pin at 113.
After another Fort win, Robert Cameron put his opponent at 126 on his back for a 29-24 lead.
But the Swamp Fox rally stopped there. Drew Parker’s opponent at 132 left the mat with an injury. In fact, he left the gym and did not return in time so Parker won by injury forfeit. That put the match out of reach, so Ashley Ridge forfeited the final weight class for the 41-24 margin.
Fort Dorchester 41, Ashley Ridge 24
145: J. Hudso (FD) 3-0 dec. over T Groom; 152: P. Shaw (FD) 4-2 dec. over M. Phillips; 160: A. Alford (FD) tech. fall over A. Hughes; 170: Jacob Hutchinson (FD) fall over W. Pantone; 182: Joseph Hutchinson (FD) 3-1 dec. over C. Clark; 195: C. Remeika (AR) fall over Q Jackson; 220: Q. Chisolm (FD) 8-3 dec. over D. Parker; 285: J. Simpson (FD) 5-1 dec. over K. Glover; 106: D. Hall (AR) fall over S. Wilkinson; 113: T. Jamieson (AR) fall over J. Negrum; 120: T. Wright (FD) 4-2 dec. over B. Whitney; 126: R. Cameron (AR) fall over D. Ferguson; 132: D. Parker (FD) wbf. (injury); 138: J. Parker (FD) wbf.